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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 28, 2011

Date published:
January 28, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Castano confirms Contador informed of ban proposal

    Juan Carlos Castaño Moreta receives the UCI's trophy for top team in the 2009 World Rankings from UCI president Pat McQuaid (R)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2011, 9:09 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Says he must expect to lose Tour title

    The president of the Spanish Cycling Federation confirmed that Alberto Contador has been informed of a proposal that he be banned for one year. Juan Carlos Castano emphasised that the ban was still only a proposal at this time, and mentioned that it had not been made public by the federation.

    He also confirmed that Contador faces losing his Tour de France 2010 title. “He will lose the Tour if the sanction is upheld. That would be the minimum sanction.”

    Castano told the Spanish radio program Tablero Deportivo that Contador had been told of the recommended one-year ban for Clenbuterol, but that he had not been sent the actual wording. “No decision has been reported, he has not been provided with the contents. It is only a proposal, not a resolution.”

    He went on to explain the procedure. “Alberto has ten days to file an appeal. At the end of that time period, the Competition Committee will meet, look at his arguments and render its final decision.” Castano added that he expected the decision to be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by Contador, the UCI and /or the WADA.

    The news was not supposed to have been made public until Thursday, and the Federation denied having announced it Wednesday. "The Federation has not been the one that leaked the information,” Castano said. “It can only have come from the environment of the athlete, but that is speculation.“

    Contador had indicated that he might retire if given a suspension for doping, and Castano urged him to change his mind. “Alberto...

  • García sanctioned, proceedings opened for Sevilla

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) was impressive on the final climb.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2011, 10:27 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    No news yet on Mosquera case

    At the same time as ruling on Alberto Contador, the Spanish cycling federation has also issued a sanction against David García Dapena (Xacobeo Galicia) and opened proceedings against Oscar Sevilla. According to El País, García has been given a two-year ban for his EPO and hydroxyethyl starch (HES) positives in last year's Vuelta a España, where he finished 11th.

    García has meanwhile announced that he has ended his career as a professional. He won the Tour of Turkey and a stage of the Vuelta in 2008.

    Meanwhile, García's teammate Ezequiel Mosquera, runner-up at the 2010 Vuelta, is apparently still waiting for the return of his B sample after an initial positive test for HES, a blood fluidifier that can mask the use of EPO. He has signed with Dutch team Vacansoleil for this season. The next steps of the Spanish disciplinary committee also depend on the B sample outcome.

    However, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Oscar Sevilla, who also returned a positive test result for HES at the Vuelta a Colombia last august, where he finished second overall. Sevilla was already linked to Operación Puerto in 2006.

    Both riders, Mosquera and Sevilla, may continue competition until their respective doping cases reach an outcome.

  • Rasmussen not surprised at Contador suspension

    Michael Rasmussen poses with Danish watch designer Christina Hembo.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2011, 10:28 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Christina Watches with new sponsor, director, but questionable for Tour of Denmark

    Michael Rasmussen has said he is not surprised that Alberto Contador has been given a one-year suspension for his positive doping control for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. But the Dane rider added that he wouldn't be surprised if the suspension was increased by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to two years.

    “There has already been a case with the Italian rider Alessandro Colo' in 2010. He got a one-year suspension because he, like Contador, claimed to have eaten contaminated meat,” Rasmussen told sporten.dk. “It is good if the rules leave room for common sense.”

    The Dane, who himself served a two-year doping related ban, added that he expected the World Anti-Doping Agency would appeal the suspension to the CAS.

    "Although they did not react when Alessandro Colo' got his one year suspension in a similar case, I think it's going to happen here. There is a difference between small and large fish. “

    New sponsor, director for team

    Rasmussen is returning to racing this year with the newly-formed Christina Watches team. This week the Continental team announced a new sponsor, Danske Hoteller A/S. The Danish hotel chain has signed up for two years.

    In addition, Allan Bo Andresen has signed on as the team's executive director. The 38-year-old rode professionally from 1999 until 2006. He was most recently sport director for Team Designa Kokken, which is also said to be providing enough of a sponsorship to cover his employment.

    Tour of Denmark?

    Rasmussen has made no secret of the fact that he wants to ride the Tour of Denmark (August 4-8), and it is equally clear that the Danish...

  • AG2R to support leader Roche

    Nicolas Roche
    Article published:
    January 27, 2011, 11:33 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Sole French ProTeam set up for ambitious season

    French team AG2R La Mondiale held its official presentation in Paris on Wednesday. The squad managed by Vincent Lavenu will this year be the only French outfit featuring ProTeam status, and it intends to live up to it.

    "We are proud and honoured to remain in the top division of cycling," said Lavenu to the gathered press at the team sponsor's headquarters. "We will participate in the entire World Calendar and want to shine in all events." Last year, the team scored 18 victories, and showed "a beautiful team spirit throughout the year."

    With seven new riders added to its roster after eight riders left the squad, AG2R comprises a team of 27 men from six different nations. While of course the vast majority of the team is French, the outfit's star rider and 2011 leader will be Nicolas Roche, whose 2010 season has made him step up to yet another level.

    The 26-year-old finished 15th in the Tour de France and seventh in the Vuelta. "He still has to break through completely," said Lavenu about the Irishman, who speaks fluent French. "But he has the physical capacity and mental force. He is our future star, and it is up to us to make him reach the highest level. In the future, he will be able to go for a podium place in a Grand Tour."

    The son of Irish cycling legend Stephen Roche will be particularly supported by the team's climbers John Gadret and Christophe Riblon, who won a stage in the Tour last year, as well as and former mountainbiker Jean-Christophe Péraud, the team's main new signing who also targets week-long stage races.

    AG2R La Mondiale for 2011

    Julien Bérard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Maxime Bouet, Dimitri Champion, Mickaël Chérel, Cyril Dessel, Hubert Dupont, John Gadret, Sébastien Hinault, Steve Houanard, Blel Kadri, Yuriy Krivtsov,...

  • McQuaid says Saxo Bank will not lose Contador's ranking points

    Alberto Contador trained with the Saxo Bank team this week
    Article published:
    January 27, 2011, 17:54 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    UCI to await final verdict from Spain before decision on CAS appeal

    While the cycling world awaits the finalization of a proposed one-year ban for Alberto Contador following his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, his new Saxo Bank-SunGard team has been assured that it will not lose its place in the sport's top tier even if Contador is stripped of his Tour title.

    "The ProTeam points will stay the same," UCI President Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews. "The points were calculated in October and even if Contador was sanctioned and lost his Tour de France victory, the points would stay the same. I know some teams might be angry about this but I don't think we left ourselves open to a legal challenge."

    After hiring Contador to fill the gap left by Andy Schleck, the Saxo Bank team was ranked tenth in the UCI sporting hierarchy used to establish which teams obtained ProTeam licences for 2011, and consequently automatic invitations to the World Tour calendar races. The UCI has refused to reveal the details of the points system, so it is not known if Saxo Bank would have secured ProTeam status without Contador's Tour de France points.

    The UCI issued a statement today clarifying that Contador has not yet been banned, despite reports that the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) had recommended a one-year suspension. The UCI confirmed it received a document from the RFEC but said it is still awaiting the final decision of the federation's disciplinary commission.

    "The document that was forwarded to the UCI this afternoon by the RFEC only represents one element of the disciplinary proceedings undertaken by the Spanish Federation – and upon which the rider may express an opinion before being subject to the ruling," a UCI statement said.

    McQuaid refused to say if he agreed with the...

  • Tour de France director awaits Contador outcome

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme
    Article published:
    January 27, 2011, 21:04 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    "The fight against doping in cycling is not a sham" says Prudhomome

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said today that he is waiting for the authorities to finish their work before he can make a decision on stripping Alberto Contador of his 2010 Tour title.

    Contador, who tested positive for a small quantity of the banned drug Clenbuterol during the Tour's second rest day last July, is subject to a proposed one-year ban by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC). He has 10 days to appeal the recommended suspension and will give a press conference Friday.

    After arguing his positive test was the result of contaminated meat, Contador now stands to miss this year's Tour as well as losing last year's title. "He is disillusioned because he is innocent and he feels he is being punished unfairly," his spokesman said today.

    Prudhomme spoke out on the case, saying that he hopes a decision will come as soon as possible, but would not say whether or not he agreed with the proposed ban.

    "It's not for us to judge," Prudhomme said according to Belga. "It is up to authorities, who have the opportunity to appeal to CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] if they wish.

    "Clearly it is a complicated affair since the authorities have been working on it for several months. What is certain is that the proceedings actually work and that the fight against doping in cycling is not a sham."

    The Frenchman predicts that Contador will be stripped of his Tour title. "He tested positive for a banned substance. I can't imagine there will be no sanction. If it turned out he failed to prove his innocence, he will be disqualified by the UCI."

    Since Prudhomme took over the job as Tour de France director from Jean-Marie Leblanc in 2005, he has seen the 2006 winner, Floyd Landis, stripped of the title; Michael Rasmussen, Alexander Vinokourov and all of Astana and Cofidis exited the 2007 race due to doping; Riccardo Ricco and several others booted in 2008 and Bernhard Kohl retroactively...

  • Team Katusha presented in Moscow

    The official 2011 Team Katusha photograph
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 0:10 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Pozzato hopes to give Russian squad a major classics win

    The Katusha team held its official presentation in Moscow on Wednesday night after a private meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin near the Kremlin.

    Now in its third season, the Russian team has made further promises to help develop cycling in Russia and will have a ProTeam, an Under 23 and an Under 21 team.

    The 30-rider ProTeam roster includes Filippo Pozzato, world number one-ranked rider in 2010 Joaquin Rodriguez, Alexandr Kolobnev and Vladimir Karpets. New signings for 2011 include Leif Hoste, Luca Paolini and Danilo Di Luca, after the Italian completed his ban for doping.The team will use Focus bikes in 2011.

    “We strongly believe in this team. In the last few seasons, despite being a young team, we were able to achieve some important results. We're starting our third year and needless to say, the goal is to do even better. We want to do well in the northern Classics and the grand tours,” Team Katusha's President Andrei Tchmil said during the presentation.

    Katusha has a reported budget of 15 million Euro thanks to banking from gas companies Gazprom and Itera.

    All the riders on the Katusha ProTeam travelled to Moscow for the presentation, except for Di Luca who was unable to obtain a visa in time for the trip after only recently joining the team. Special guest included UCI President Pat McQuaid Igor Makarov, the head of Itera. During the meeting with Vladimir Putin, the riders held a minutes silence to remember the recent victims of the terrorist attack at Moscow airport.

    The riders posed for photographs in Red Square before the presentation despite temperatures of -10C. During the presentation Joaquin Rodriguez received an award from Pat McQuaid for topping the UCI world ranking, while Alexandr Kolobnev finally received his silver medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics following Davide Rebellin’s disqualification for doping.

    Filippo Pozzato promised another major classics victory...

  • Salivating proposition for neo-pro Monsalve

    Eventual winner, Jonathan Monsalve (Androni Giocattoli) from Venezuela, makes his way towards the top of Genting Highlands.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 3:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Savio's latest charge wins atop Genting Highlands

    One of the most exciting neo-pros to enter the scene in 2011, Jonathan Monsalve, has made a stunning impression on his first race with Androni Giocattoli, the Tour de Langkawi, and looks poised to contest for overall honours

    At the halfway point in this year's edition of Malaysia's biggest bike race, Monsalve sits just two seconds behind overall leader Libardo Nino Corredor (Le Tua Cycling Team), the 43-year-old Colombian finishing second to his 21-year-old rival on the climb of Genting Highlands.

    Monsalve won atop the event's highest finish following some solid work by teammate Emanuele Sella at the base of the final climb, which generally decides the overall winner of the 2.HC-ranked race.

    "I would like to thank my whole team; the masseurs, mechanics and everyone who has helped me, especially Emanuele Sella on the climb; he did a great job for me," said Monsalve after the stage.

    Monsalve is the latest of experienced team manager Gianni Savio's revelations, with the likes of 2010 Langkawi champion and countryman Jose Rujano and '09 winner Jose Serpa just two of the climbers Savio has uncovered.

    And Monsavle recognised the man who gave him the chance to shine on a misty mountaintop in Malaysia. "I would like to thank Gianni Savio who gave me the confidence to do well today. He told me I could win the race and I did it," he added.

    With five stages remaining - most of which don't suit the Venezuelan's strengths, however - Monsalve is remaining upbeat about his chances of securing the title but knows the task ahead.

    "I will have to speak to Gianni Savio to see what we will do. There are five remaining stages with time bonus sprints. I hope to make it, but we'll see," he said.